“We’re really excited to be home and able to play in front of our home crowd,” Florida State head coach Jennifer Hyde said. “Every time we compete, the crowds make the matches for us- they really allow us to take full advantage of being at home and really having the fans behind us.”
The Seminoles are 4-0 at home so far this season, and have not played at home since February 18. Three of the four wins were 4-0 shutout victories over North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast and Florida A&M.
One of the emerging leaders on this young team is freshman Nandini Das. Originally from Mumbai, India, Das was selected to train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where she attended school for six years before enrolling at Florida State in the fall.
Das has stepped in at the number three spot and contributed immediately in the lineup, leading the Seminoles in singles wins (six), doubles wins (seven), and overall wins (13) this spring, and has been elevated in the lineup in the absence of junior Gabriella Castaneda.
Last week against Florida Atlantic, Das defeated Ana Guittierrez 6-2, 6-1 in straight sets to earn her first career win at the number one spot in the lineup.
“We’ve been out for a while after playing three matches away,” Das said. “I think we have confidence going into the matches tomorrow. It’s always nice to be in your own locker room- it can be tough to travel and come back with class and everything else. It’s nice to be at home.”
The Seminoles have won seven consecutive doubles points this season and eight overall, having only conceded the point once all season. Freshman Andrea Garcia and sophomore Julia Mikulski head the doubles lineup on court one, while Das and sophomore Ariana Rahmanparast have been a steady force on court two, leading the Noles in that category with seven doubles wins this dual match season.
“I think the doubles point with everyone working together is important,” Das said. “We complement each other very well and it gives us a lot of confidence going in knowing that we can win the doubles point.”
Now in the heart of the season, the road for the Seminoles doesn’t get any easier as they face two nationally-ranked opponents this weekend before taking on Illinois at home and Penn in Tampa, Fla. before diving into the rest of the ACC slate.
“We’re very excited to compete against Wake Forest and NC State,” Hyde said. “We expect both matches to be absolute dogfights, as is the case with every ACC match that you’re going to compete in.”
Live stats links
Wake Forest: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/statmonitr/?id=169793
NC State: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/statmonitr/?id=169795
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